BEREA — Kevin Shaffer better get used to the idea of playing right tackle.
Shaffer, who started 16 games at left tackle last year, lined up exclusively at right tackle Sunday during practice. The move follows the four-game steroid suspension of starter Ryan Tucker.
“We had a different development that occurred Friday, so we have to adapt, that’s part of coaching,” coach Romeo Crennel said. “We’re not going to have Tucker for the first four games, so we’re going to get Shaffer over there and give him as much work over there as we can so he can get his footwork and his timing down from that side.”
Shaffer has started 55 games in the NFL, all at left tackle. When he was asked about switching sides Friday, he sounded a bit put-off.
“He’s a left tackle and all of a sudden you’ve got to go to the right side,” Crennel said. “Maybe he wasn’t jumping up and down, but he’s a professional and he’ll do whatever we ask him to do to try to make this team better. And I think that’s what he really wants.”
The Browns signed Shaffer to a seven-year, $36 million deal in March 2006. Crennel said he’s a good enough athlete to switch sides, but needs time.
“We just have to give him as many reps as we can, so he can gain the confidence he needs to line up and play against some of the people he has to play against.”
Shaffer’s move leaves rookie Joe Thomas as the starting left tackle.
Cornerback Daven Holly had a big day Sunday, intercepting a pair of passes from Derek Anderson.
During a passing drill, Holly picked off a pass that went off tight end Steve Heiden’s hands. Holly began the play by knocking tight end Kellen Winslow to the ground with a hard jam. Then in team drills, Holly stepped in front of a pass intended for Joe Jurevicius and returned it for a touchdown.
“I’m just getting in a groove at camp,” Holly said. “That’s one of the things we’re supposed to do in the secondary — force turnovers and get takeaways.”
Crennel liked what he saw.
“Daven has improved considerable from where he was last year,” he said. “He understands our system better now. He understands where he needs to be, where the receivers are going to be and so he’s able to get his hands on balls.”
Gary Baxter’s recovery from a pair of torn patellar tendons is moving along. He hasn’t resumed contact, but his individual workload has increased and he lined up with the defense Sunday as it installed new formations.
“I’ll tell you, Baxter’s making good progress,” Crennel said. “When you watched him when he first went out there, I felt he was a little cautious when he planted. Now as he gains more confidence in what he can do, you see stronger reactions. You can see the progress and his confidence begin to grow.”
Baxter practiced for the first time Monday.
The quarterbacks looked like they were picking on rookie cornerback Eric Wright, as they threw his way often during team drills.
• Receiver Joshua Cribbs juggled a deep pass down the sideline from Charlie Frye, but couldn’t make the catch.
• Former Browns running back Eric Metcalf watched practice.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7136